ACC Basketball Tournament schedule changes to feature Saturday championship

Streeter Lecka

That's one day sooner UVA fans will have to wait for the team's next ACC title.

The ACC announced today a change to the scheduling format of the men's basketball tournament.  The tournament will begin on a Tuesday (rather than Wednesday), with 3 "outbracket games" to trim the field from 15 to 12.   The shift means that the championship game will take place on Saturday night, in primetime. Previously, the event began Wednesday, culminating in a championship game on Sunday afternoon.

The schedule change, which required an agreement between the ACC and ESPN, means that 3 games that were previously held in the afternoon (the semifinals and finals) move to evening.  The semis will tip-off at 7 PM and 9 PM on Friday night, and the final will start at 8:30 PM Saturday.  The entire tournament will continue to be televised on ESPN and the ACC Network.

The ACC's release makes it seem like the conference is quite careful about upset upsetting traditionalists.  It emphasizes that the final has been on Sunday afternoon since 1981, the 28 tournaments before that concluded on Saturday. So this is the REAL tradition apparently!  John Swafford even commented that the move is a "Back to the Future" moment for the conference, which is pretty goofy.  Especially because this move has nothing to do with tradition or Steven Spielberg movies, but about getting more eyes on these games in prime time.  The only downside would be the competition with the Big XII and Big East finals, which also take place Saturday night.

There's nothing wrong with that; skipping work for the Friday (and Thursday?) games was a fun tradition, but pushing games to where more people can watch makes sense.  The people who would presumedly prefer the previous arrangement are those who travel for the games.  Taking a long weekend from Thursday-ish (depending on byes) to Sunday is probably more do-able for most than having to attend a Wednesday, or even a Tuesday game.

The ACC Tournament will be in Greensboro once again next year, before shifting to Washington, DC in 2016 and Brooklyn in 2017 and 2018.  Don't worry, North Carolina folk! It's back in Charlotte for 2019 and finally Greensboro in 2020, so you can start planning that now.

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